|Manufacturer:||MAK SYSTEM GESELLSHAFT MBH|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
From 1986 the German company of GST (Gesellschaft fur Systemtechnik mbH) designed an amphibious 4×4 light armoured reconnaissance vehicle called the Zobel. The first prototype of this was completed in 1989 and was funded by the German MoD.
In many respects this is similar in appearance to the French Panhard VBL (4×4) light armoured amphibious reconnaissance vehicle but is larger and heavier.
The hull of the Zobel is of all-welded steel armour which provides protection from small arms fire and shell splinters. The layout is conventional with the driver front left, the commander front right and the observer in the rear facing the rear.
The commander and driver have bullet-proof windows and each has a forward-opening side door with a bullet-proof window in the upper part.
In the rear of the hull is a large door opening to the left which also has a bullet-proof window. In addition there are two roof hatches, one for the vehicle commander and one for the observer.
The Zobel has 4 × 4 drive with steering on all four wheels. The vehicle is fully amphibious being propelled in the water by two propellers mounted at the front of the hull, one on either side. These propellers swivel to steer the vehicle when afloat. If required, the rear observer could also drive the vehicle for a short period.
Standard equipment includes a complete range of communications equipment, an NBC system, a front-mounted winch for self-recovery operations and a central tyre pressure regulation system which allows the driver to adjust the tyre pressure when the vehicle is moving.
The German Army had a requirement for a new 4 × 4 amphibious armoured reconnaissance vehicle called the Leichtes Spah-Kfz, Rad schwimmfahig.
The original requirement was for at least 332 vehicles but this has now been reduced to 164 vehicles.
In mid-1992 the French company of Panhard and the German company of MaK formed a new company called European Light Armoured Vehicle (EUROLAV) (Jane's Armour and Artillery 1993-94 page 173) to develop a new 4 × 4 light armoured vehicle in the 6 to 8 tonne range based on the Zobel 4 × 4 vehicle for which MaK has a licence to manufacture.
When the German Army reduced its requirement, development of the EUROLAV ceased.
Three consortia are now bidding for a German Army contract to build four prototype vehicles at a cost of around DM18 million. These are Thyssen Henschel of Germany, Krauss-Maffei teamed with Mercedes-Benz of Germany and Daf Special Products of the Netherlands teamed with Wegmann of Germany. The Daf/Wegmann consortium is proposing a further development of the Daf Special Products MultiPurpose Carrier which is fully described under the Netherlands later in this section.
As of July 1994, no contracts had been awarded for the construction of prototypes of the new reconnaissance vehicle. It is understood that the amphibious requirement has been dropped.
Late in 1993, Germany and the Netherlands agreed a joint staff requirement for a light armoured reconnaissance vehicle with the two countries having a total requirement for 452 vehicles. Of the latter 288 would be for the Netherlands and 164 for Germany.
The vehicle is expected to have a mast-mounted surveillance package including a TV camera, a thermal imager and a laser rangefinder.